One of the oddest things about ploughing through every week to chart the Mail’s cancerphilia is the complete lack of reflectiveness of the Mail’s columnists. Take this, from Jan Moir’s MPs’ taste? Pass the John Lewis sick bag: “Jade Goody had the services of professional make-up artists to make her look radiant in her dying days. These are media conceits, which muddy the truth and make real-life cancer patients feel worse. Ask yourself this: What is the real purpose of the Farrah Fawcett documentary, except to glamorise poor, dying Farrah?”. Or this, from Deborah Ross’ Vote for me or I’ll poke your eyes out!: “Also, we [her proposed political party] will keep everyone on their toes by saying wine gives you cancer one day, and declaring it good for the heart the next. It’ll be fun.” You begin to wonder whether they read the paper they write for – who is doing this glamourising, who is keeping everyone on their toes? It isn’t the government dispensing the weekly potted summary of essentially random studies, it isn’t the academic media who are reporting on celebrities. It’s the Mail. Their newspaper. Which they write for. Themselves. Should someone tell them? The poor things probably think they’re writing for the Guardian or something – their evil agents every week carefully cutting their columns out and sticking them over Ben Goldacre’s before allowing them to see them.
Incidentally, the article on tea gets the Finnish study wrong – it referred to both tea and coffee, not just tea, found a reduction of a particular type of stroke, nots strokes qua strokes, and only in male smokers, not men in general.
This week, there might be a pill for renal cancer, tea is good for you, ginger might make chemo less awful and there might be a treatment for liver cancer involving an engineered virus. Mastectomies might not always be the way forward, however.
The Motzer and Molina paper is open source.
New kidney cancer pill extends the lives of patients by two years
A report on: Motzer and Molina (2009) Targeting Renal Cell Carcinoma Journal of Clinical Oncology doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.21.8461
Can cancer drugs harm your memory? Patients complain of mental problems after chemo
Which mentions in passing: Skoogh et al. (2008) Long-term cognitive function among testicular cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy Journal of Clinical Oncology 26:5035
Is a mastectomy for a breast lump ALWAYS a lifesaver… or could it be a terrible mistake?
Which mentions: Zahl, Mæhlen and Welch (2008) The Natural History of Invasive Breast Cancers Detected by Screening Mammography Archives of Internal Medicine 168:2311-2316
And also: Gøtzsche et al. (2009) Breast screening: the facts—or maybe not British Medical Journal 338:b86
Brighten the twilight years: ‘Sunshine vitamin’ boosts brain function in the elderly
A report on: Lee et al. (2009) Association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and cognitive performance in middle-aged and older European men Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry doi:10.1136/jnnp.2008.165720
Three cups of tea a day ‘can cut heart attack risk by 70%’
A report on: Ruxton (2009) The health effects of black tea and flavonoids Nutrition & Food Science 39:283-294
Also mentioning: Larsson et al. (2008) Coffee and tea consumption and risk of stroke subtypes in male smokers Stroke 39:1681-7
Also mentioning: A French study I can’t trace using the information given in the article.
Scientists adapt common cold virus to attacks cancer cells but leave healthy tissue unharmed
A report on: Cawood et al. (2009) Use of Tissue-Specific MicroRNA to Control Pathology of Wild-Type Adenovirus without Attenuation of Its Ability to Kill Cancer Cells Public Library of Science Pathogens 5:e1000440.
How taking ginger can help ease nausea after chemotherapy
Mentioning in passing: Ryan et al. (2009) Ginger for chemotherapy-related nausea in cancer patients: A URCC CCOP randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 644 cancer patients Journal of Clinical Oncology 27:15s(abstr 9511)
Causes in brief
For heart survivors, a big waistline could be a lifeline
“Evidence from other studies suggests obese patients also fare better after being diagnosed with other chronic illnesses like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer and kidney failure.”
The (non-cancer related) study is here.
Jacko denies he’s got skin cancer – but this horrific picture of his bleached-out face will cause fans just as much alarm
“Vitiligo, the disease which Jackson was reportedly diagnosed with in 1986, is thought to be linked to skin cancer.
The pigmentation condition means that there are areas of the sufferers’ skin which do not contain melanin, which gives the skin colour and protects it from the sun’s rays.
Due to this reduced protection, those with the disease are at greater risk from cancer.”
£3 Asda sun lotion shines out as top performer among protective creams
“UVB light is linked to several types of skin cancer, including the most serious and least treatable, cutaneous malignant melanoma.
Some products also claim protection against UVA, which is identified through a star rating.
UVA is also linked to some aggressive cancers and ageing.”
Rice milk arsenic contamination prompts food watchdog warning for children to stop drinking it
“Arsenic is known as a poison but is also associated with the development of certain cancers.”
Bed by 11pm, lose the paunch – and take up the electric guitar… How to avoid a midlife crisis
“This not only looks unsightly, but fat around the waist is linked to metabolic syndrome which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, erectile dysfunction and even prostate cancer.”
Girl, 10, is the youngest person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with breast cancer
“He said about 0.1 percent of breast cancer occurs in children and is generally less aggressive than in adults.
Often those who develop breast cancer at such a young age have a genetic disposition to the disease.”
Schoolgirl, 8, becomes youngest Briton to battle ovarian cancer
“Around one in 120 women develops ovarian cancer by the age of 70. Although it is usually found in women after the menopause, it can sometimes strike in young children.
In 2005, three girls aged four or under were diagnosed with the disease and one aged between five and nine.”
Pictured: Cancer-stricken Patrick Swayze poses with wife Lisa to combat ‘death’ rumours
“Last year, after losing a dramatic amount of weight, Swayze was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in his pancreas.
As it had spread to his liver, he was told surgery was not an option.
Medical experts say most patients have less than six months to live after being diagnosed with such cancer.”
Tandemic! How love of sunbeds has sent skin cancer soaring
“However, new statistics from Cancer Research UK reveal that tanning can be a killer. It is now the most common cause of malignant melanoma among 15 to 34-year-olds, and sunbeds double the risk of developing it.”
Health news: Gas to beat MRSA, how blackcurrants soothe dry eyes and caffeine for pain
“A Caffeine drip is being used to combat pain.
In a new trial, it is being given intravenously to treat acute and chronic pain associated with cancer. It is administered in conjunction with traditional drugs to see if the caffeine boosts their pain-killing effects.”
Mother-of-eight Colleen Hauser goes on run to stop court forcing son, 13, to have chemotherapy
“A mother has gone on the run with her desperately-sick teenage son to stop him having chemotherapy for cancer.
Parents Colleen and Tony Hauser have resolutely refused to let Daniel, 13, be treated with conventional medicine, instead advocating alternative treatments.”